Leamington
History Group

LEAMINGTON SPA

DISCOVERED
SLIDE SHOW
Eliza Scarlett
Leamington
widow
and Jamaican
slave owner
1...
The story starts in a churchyard

Nearly all of the headstones and tombs in the parish churchyard of All Saints, Leamingto...
Basic information on the tombs
The two chest-tombs are of identical design and are very
close together which seems to indi...
a few more clues
The adjoining tomb on which the lettering is also
very degraded records the death of ‘Elizabeth the
widow...
The Jamaican connection explored
It was fairly obvious that British people like the Scarletts and Dunns with roots in the ...
striking gold in the National Archive
Working on the assumption that the Scarlett family being minor aristocracy and
seemi...
To Hull to look at the documents
I got off the train at Hull Paragon station and saw Philip Larkin on the platform who I
r...
Information overload
When I first looked at the tombs in the churchyard, I never gave a thought to where my research might...
One section of a 1794 valuation
of the slaves on the Scarlett’s
Greenvale Estate with their
names and monetary values in
B...
The slaves as economic assets

This is a small section of a valuation of 223 slaves on the Peru Estate drawn up in 1816, t...
James Scarlett’s death in 1798
It is fairly certain that Elizabeth Scarlett lived with her husband James on one of their T...
Elizabeth returns to England
After James Scarlett had died, Elizabeth and her daughters returned to England. Among the
doc...
Eliza Scarlett estate owner
What is clear from the Hull documents is that at the time of James Scarlett’s death he was
hea...
management from afar
After Eliza had moved back to
England, the Scarlett estates were
administered locally in Jamaica
by A...
one of Eliza’s letters

Part of a letter to her Attorneys in
Eliza’s own hand giving details of
transactions for the purch...
work on the plantation - planting
It goes without
saying that sugar
and rum production
relied entirely on
slave labour for...
Harvesting the cane

When it was ready for harvesting , the cane was cut by hand with
a machete and bundled. It was then t...
the boiling house
Here the raw sugar was boiled in a
succession of copper vessels to
extract the crystalline sugar which
h...
shipping the sugar
In the early days, there were no docks or wharves and
vessels would have to be loaded out at sea. A lar...
How the slave trade worked

The trans-Atlantic slave trade owes its existence to the pursuit of riches. European plantatio...
Filling the ships
Slavery had been practised in Africa for
centuries and many of the African Chiefs
were complicit in prov...
buying an African slave
A slave could be purchased for the equivalent of a few pence. One of the most
favoured items to be...
a journey into the unknown
This is the ‘Watt’ a typical
eighteenth century slave ship.
Most slave ships were normal
mercha...
Conditions on board ship
The passage across the Atlantic would take several weeks and the
conditions on board were unspeak...
Landfall and further indignities
The regime on board
the slave ship was
brutal and the
conditions for the
slaves were
inde...
welcome to Jamaica
Having finally disembarked, the
assembled slaves were offered for sale in
a number of different ways. S...
a life of unremitting toil
Alone, separated from family and friends and unable to communicate with those around him, what ...
but the times they are a changing

The slaves lived in encampments of simple huts and always at a respectable distance fro...
a beginning and an ending
The slave trade reached its zenith in the middle of the 18th century but within a few decades a ...
The abolitionists
Two of the most influential members of the abolition movement were
William Wilberforce (left)the Member ...
the cartoonist joins the debate
The leading caricaturist of the time Isaac Cruikshank reflected the mood of the period in ...
The Abolition Bill is passed
It was the testimony of men like
former ships captains and surgeons
who had served on slave s...
see how the girls dance
Isaac Cruikshank’s satirical view of the Abolition titled The Abolition of the Slave Trade publish...
1833 and the pay-off

Although the 1807 Act had effectively put an end to the business of trading slaves, it
would be anot...
Postscript
To round off this presentation I want to return to Elizabeth Scarlett whose tomb in All Saints
churchyard first...
This slide show in the Leamington Discovered series was compiled by
Alan Griffin for the Leamington History Group website
...
End of slide show 3

Please visit us again
for new presentations on aspects of the history of
Royal Leamington Spa

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Eliza Scarlett: Leamington widow and Jamaican slave owner

  1. 1. Leamington History Group LEAMINGTON SPA DISCOVERED SLIDE SHOW Eliza Scarlett Leamington widow and Jamaican slave owner 1 Monday, 4 November 2013
  2. 2. The story starts in a churchyard Nearly all of the headstones and tombs in the parish churchyard of All Saints, Leamington were removed between the wars. There are now only three identifiable chest-tombs remaining. This photograph shows two of these on the South side of the church just inside the railings on Church Walk. When I was the Verger at All Saints, I had access to the gated area of the churchyard and as a keen local historian I thought that these particular tombs might be significant and were worth a closer look. Like most local historians, I am naturally very inquisitive. 2 Monday, 4 November 2013
  3. 3. Basic information on the tombs The two chest-tombs are of identical design and are very close together which seems to indicate that they were built at the same time over over a single family vault. Each of the panels on the two tombs had originally had incised lettering on but much of the lettering was badly eroded and it was impossible to decipher much of it. By enlarging the photographs and enhancing the images on a computer it was however possible to read some of the inscriptions on both of the tombs. The inscription on the right is from the tomb nearest to the camera it reads: IN THIS VAULT LIE THE MORTAL REMAINS OF ELIZABETH VIRGO SCARLETT RELICT OF THE LATE JAMES SCARLETT ESQ OF TRELAWNEY IN THE ISLAND OF JAMAICA WHO DIED AT LEAMINGTON ON THE 2ND OF JANUARY 1821 AGED 53 RIP 3 Monday, 4 November 2013
  4. 4. a few more clues The adjoining tomb on which the lettering is also very degraded records the death of ‘Elizabeth the widow of James Virgo Dunn born in Jamaica June 20th 1762 died in London `july 15th 1839 and James Virgo Dunn born in Jamaica died in this parish 29th of October 1820’. James Dunn had died only two months before Elizabeth Scarlett which strengthened the suspicion that the two tombs were erected at the same date. This was the extent of the readable information on the tombs. There was obviously a close family relationship between Elizabeth Virgo Scarlett and James Virgo Dunn and his wife Elizabeth for them to be buried in the same vault but what that was we don’t know. Virgo is a common surname among the early British settlers in the West Indies and surnames were frequently used as fore-names. A map of Jamaica on the internet indicated that Trelawney was a large parish in the north of the island with Falmouth its main town. 4 Monday, 4 November 2013
  5. 5. The Jamaican connection explored It was fairly obvious that British people like the Scarletts and Dunns with roots in the West Indies in the eighteenth century could only have been there for one reason and that reason was their intimate connections with the sugar plantations that had been set up there by Europeans in the previous century. A search on Google led me immediately to a page on ‘The Scarlett Family in Jamaica’ on the Jamaica Family Search website. That was enough to confirm what I already suspected about Elizabeth, the question then arose -where do we go from here? Working on the basis that someone of substance would have left a will, a search on the National Archive website confirmed that they held a probate copy of the will of ‘Elizabeth otherwise Eliza Scarlett, Widow of Leamington Priors, Warwickshire’, the will was proved on 19 January 1821. For the very modest sum of £3.50 it was possible to download a PDF copy of the will, the ledger entry for which is shown below. Elizabeth’s will was short and not very illuminating but I also downloaded copies of the will of James Virgo Dunn and of Eliza’s mother Sarah Gallimore who had died in 1810 and these were far more enlightening. Among the ‘goods and chattels’ left to beneficiaries in both of these wills were large numbers of named slaves employed on the Jamaican sugar plantations owned by the two families. 5 Monday, 4 November 2013
  6. 6. striking gold in the National Archive Working on the assumption that the Scarlett family being minor aristocracy and seemingly long established in Jamaica, I thought it would be worthwhile to do a search on the Access to Archive network to see whether there were any surviving documents anywhere that would help in my search to flesh out the bare bones of Eliza’s life and that was something of a revelatory experience. I entered ‘Scarlett’ in the search box on the A2A website and the second of the 917 entries leapt out, it said that the Hull History Centre held an archive of the papers of James and Eliza Virgo Scarlett and with a click on the mouse the contents of the archive were revealed. This is the catalogue entry. Eliza Virgo Scarlett was married to James Scarlett (d.1798). The latter is not to be confused with James Scarlett (1769-1844), 1st Baron Abinger, though the coincidence of their families both owning estates in Jamaica suggests that they may have been related. James Scarlett died in 1798 and Eliza Virgo Scarlett returned to England from Jamaica and ran her inherited Thicketts Estate, Peru and Green Vale Estate in Jamaica from there. The papers in the collection originate from her management of these two sugar plantations. She owned and rented slaves and produced rum. When her husband died he left many debts and she sold the Jamaica Estate to cover these in 1802. Her mother's death in 1806 increased her assetts and what was left when she died in 1821 was passed to her children, Mary James Scarlett and Eliza Virgo Scarlett junior. The latter married General Phineas Riall, who owned considerable estates in Ireland and it may be that the papers passed, like other Irish papers in DDLA of the O'Kelly and Grattan families, to the Langdale family through intermarriage. The catalogue entry went on to say that the archive at Hull comprised a total of 193 items including estate correspondence and accounts for the Scarlett estates and also items like valuations and reports on slaves, letters and press cuttings. Talk about manna from heaven! 6 Monday, 4 November 2013
  7. 7. To Hull to look at the documents I got off the train at Hull Paragon station and saw Philip Larkin on the platform who I remember was also a Warwickshire lad before migrating to East Yorkshire. Three days had been set aside to look at what was a very extensive archive. There would not be time to look at or to photograph or copy all of the items but I was able to access the Hull catalogue on line in advance of the visit and identify which items would be of most interest to me and these were helpfully on the table in the search room when I arrived at the History Centre. The Hull History Centre (right) is an interesting new building in Worship Street a short walk from the railway station. Monday, 4 November 2013 7
  8. 8. Information overload When I first looked at the tombs in the churchyard, I never gave a thought to where my research might lead and much less to the embarrassment of riches I would uncover along the way. It soon became apparent that the archive in Hull was far too extensive to look at in just three days but it occurred to me that the subject would perhaps make an interesting talk for my local history group and it was with that idea in mind that I began to look at the material and decide which items I ought to copy. Since I knew practically nothing about the running of sugar plantations or the slave trade, it would also require a fair amount of background reading at some future date to try and put it all into some sort of context.What follows are just some of the more interesting documents from the archive with brief notes about what they tell us. 8 Monday, 4 November 2013 This valuation is one of the first documents I looked at and it indicates the astronomical sums of money involved in sugar production.Greenvale and Peru were the names of the Scarlett plantations The slaves there were regarded as capital assets and together with the stock were valued at almost £42,000.
  9. 9. One section of a 1794 valuation of the slaves on the Scarlett’s Greenvale Estate with their names and monetary values in British pounds alongside. Those with the lowest value were children.The slaves names would have been given to them by the estate owners. 9 Monday, 4 November 2013
  10. 10. The slaves as economic assets This is a small section of a valuation of 223 slaves on the Peru Estate drawn up in 1816, their names, ages and value in English pounds are listed (right hand column) The values are significantly less than in the 1794 valuation and a number have no monetary value. Many of the slaves were afflicted by tropical diseases and lifethreatening conditions which meant they were unable to work. 10 Monday, 4 November 2013
  11. 11. James Scarlett’s death in 1798 It is fairly certain that Elizabeth Scarlett lived with her husband James on one of their Trelawney estates until he died in 1798. James Sarlett’s family had a long connection with Jamaica and had been settled there since 1670. Various members of the family held extensive estates on the island. There is a mention in the household account books of ‘a payment to D Gardner’s visit to James Scarlett during his last illness £5’ which is presumably a Doctor’s fee for attendance. James Scarlett died intestate and left large debts. At the time of his death he owned estates named Peru, Scarlett’s Thicket, Young’s Thickett and Greenvale which amounted to 2,700 acres. He is buried in the churchyard of St Peter’s church in Falmouth seen below. St Peters Falmouth built 1795 11 Monday, 4 November 2013
  12. 12. Elizabeth returns to England After James Scarlett had died, Elizabeth and her daughters returned to England. Among the documents in the Hull archive is this receipt for £135 dated 19 May 1800 which was the fare for Eliza, her two daughters and her servant’s passage to England on board the ship Elizabeth. 12 Monday, 4 November 2013
  13. 13. Eliza Scarlett estate owner What is clear from the Hull documents is that at the time of James Scarlett’s death he was heavily in debt. The sums of money involved in the sugar trade and slaving are quite extraordinary by today’s standards. By the early part of the 19th century there was already a move to get rid of the business of slavery and an increasing trend in England to give up the use of sugar because of its unsavoury associations. The sugar trade was in decline. A typical and greatly idealised estate scene this is Port Maria on the north coast of Jamaica circa 1800 This advert in a Jamaican newspaper in 1802 invites offers for the Greenvale Estate’s 900 acres and 120 slaves 13 Monday, 4 November 2013
  14. 14. management from afar After Eliza had moved back to England, the Scarlett estates were administered locally in Jamaica by Attorneys James Stevenson and David Richards. Eliza kept a very close watch on their management of her affairs. In spite of the huge logistical problems involved she regularly exchanged letters with her Attorneys but even though these were sent by the weekly Post Office packet boats out of Falmouth, they took anything up to ten weeks to arrive in Jamaica and then several days before they were delivered. Replies of course took a similar amount of time to get back to England. Eliza wrote in her own hand and made a copy of each letter written in a leather bound Letter Book which survives in the Hull archive and is seen top right. The Francis Freeling one of the Post Office fleet of mail-packets that operated weekly between Falmouth and the West Indies carrying official dispatches, mail, passengers and Bank of England bullion. 14 Monday, 4 November 2013
  15. 15. one of Eliza’s letters Part of a letter to her Attorneys in Eliza’s own hand giving details of transactions for the purchase of slaves in the year 1795 when her husband was still living, with a transcription below right. 15 Monday, 4 November 2013 From Barret & Parkinson at Montego Bay were purchased 17 Negroes, 16 at £75 per head, one at £50. From Rainsford Blundel & Bainsden at Kingston or Spanish Town 20 Negroes 19 at £69 per head one at £50 From Galloway at Falmouth were bought 10 Negroes 9 at £65 one at £60. These were the last that were purchased in the year 1795.
  16. 16. work on the plantation - planting It goes without saying that sugar and rum production relied entirely on slave labour for the large work force it required. The latter section of this show will explain how the slave trade was organised.Here we take a look at the workings of a typical sugar plantation. Sugar cane is sterile and can only be reproduced from cuttings. Here we see (top) slaves hoeing in preparation for planting and (below)layering root cuttings into shallow trenches There was no mechanisation in the cane fields just a few horses and oxen. The cane would take fifteen months before it would be ready for cutting and boiling. 16 Monday, 4 November 2013
  17. 17. Harvesting the cane When it was ready for harvesting , the cane was cut by hand with a machete and bundled. It was then taken as soon as possible to the estate mill to be crushed to extract the juice before it deteriorated. The mills were either wind or watermills but on some estates the cane was crushed by a simple horse-driven mill. The cane harvesting would go on for six months of the year. 17 Monday, 4 November 2013
  18. 18. the boiling house Here the raw sugar was boiled in a succession of copper vessels to extract the crystalline sugar which had to be done quickly before it began to ferment.It was then cooled in a cistern to form coarse granulated sugar and the residual molasses.The sugar would then be put into the large wooden barrels seen below called hogsheads and then onto carts drawn by horses or oxen for transporting to the boats. Practically all of the metal equipment used on the estate had to be shipped out from England since there were few manufacturing industries in the West Indies.Coopering was one of the few jobs that could be done on the estate and the coopers were the most valuable slaves on the payroll. The logistics associated with setting up a mill and boiling house were very complicated. 18 Monday, 4 November 2013
  19. 19. shipping the sugar In the early days, there were no docks or wharves and vessels would have to be loaded out at sea. A large hogshead of sugar weighing the best part of three quarters of a ton is being man-handled into a small skiff to be taken out to the lighters at anchor in the bay before being hoisted on to ships for England. 19 Monday, 4 November 2013
  20. 20. How the slave trade worked The trans-Atlantic slave trade owes its existence to the pursuit of riches. European plantation owners needed huge numbers of workers on their estates in areas like the West Indies whose small populations were insufficient to meet the demand for labour. The easy solution was to charter ships in England and to sail down the coast of West Africa and to forcibly enslave huge numbers of Africans. Thus developed what came to be known as the Triangular Trade. Merchants filled outbound ships with things like metal goods and textiles which could be exchanged in West Africa for slaves who were then shipped across the Atlantic and off-loaded in the West Indies. The ships would then return to Britain with sugar and rum from the plantations to be sold here. The ships never sailed empty. 20 Monday, 4 November 2013
  21. 21. Filling the ships Slavery had been practised in Africa for centuries and many of the African Chiefs were complicit in providing slaves for European merchants. Slaves were frequently gathered from areas far inland and imprisoned in forts along the coast to wait until a large enough group had been assembled to fill a slave ship which might be several weeks or even months.. Men, women and children were taken and many native African families were separated for all time. 21 Monday, 4 November 2013
  22. 22. buying an African slave A slave could be purchased for the equivalent of a few pence. One of the most favoured items to be bartered for slaves was a brass or copper item shaped like a bracelet and known as a Manilla shown bottom right.. These could be melted down but were used as currency in some parts of West Africa. The bronze plaque (right) from Benin shows an African trader holding his staff of office and one of these Manillas the local currency. These were turned out in their millions by Birmingham brass foundries. 22 Monday, 4 November 2013
  23. 23. a journey into the unknown This is the ‘Watt’ a typical eighteenth century slave ship. Most slave ships were normal merchant ships of 250 to 300 tons adapted to carry a human cargo and would have a crew of 35 or 40 sailors. Each ship would be packed with up to 300 slaves who were shackled below decks in the ships hold for most of the time. The slaves on board had no idea where they were going or what the future held in store for them. Some thought they would be killed and eaten by the crew. 23 Monday, 4 November 2013
  24. 24. Conditions on board ship The passage across the Atlantic would take several weeks and the conditions on board were unspeakable. Small groups of slaves would be unshackled and taken up on deck for exercise. A former slave surgeon Alexander Falconbridge had this to say: ‘They lie on bare planks and are frequently stowed too close, as to admit of no other posture than lying on their sides. Neither will the height between decks, unless directly under the gratings, permit them the indulgence of an erect posture. The surgeon upon going between the decks in the morning, to examine the situation, frequently finds several dead. These dead slaves are thrown to the sharks’. Unsurprisingly there was a very high mortality rate among both the slaves and crew on passage and 12% died before the ship reached landfall and were thrown overboard. On some voyages the mortality rate was an astonishing 40%. 24 Monday, 4 November 2013
  25. 25. Landfall and further indignities The regime on board the slave ship was brutal and the conditions for the slaves were indescribable after a long period at sea. Having survived the rigours of the Atlantic, disease, rough treatment, poor food, lack of sanitation and the threat of piracy, they might have expected that their situation could only improve once the ship neared its destination but further indignities were in store. As the ship approached its destination, it was a case of ‘all hands on deck’ to smarten up the slaves and to make them as saleable as possible when they were taken ashore. They would be washed and shaved and a sailor would apply a mixture of gunpowder, lemon juice and palm oil to the skin of the slaves which he rubbed in with a cloth. A second sailor would then vigorously brush the slave with a dandy brush so that the skin glistened. The better the shine the better the price. 25 Monday, 4 November 2013
  26. 26. welcome to Jamaica Having finally disembarked, the assembled slaves were offered for sale in a number of different ways. Some had been pre-ordered by estate owners and merchants. Others would be sent to a public auction where they could be bid for like cattle in a market and prodded and poked and intimately examined like an animal. The worst-case scenario was something called the ’scrambles’ where at a given signal potential buyers would rush among the slaves and grab hold of anyone they wished to buy. An observer at one of these spectacles reported how a large number of terrified Africans had jumped into the sea fearing what was about to happen to them. Thus was their fate sealed for the rest of their short lives. A man sent by their new employers stood ready with a red-hot branding iron and each slave was branded on the left shoulder with an iron bearing the new owner’s logo or initials. 26 Monday, 4 November 2013
  27. 27. a life of unremitting toil Alone, separated from family and friends and unable to communicate with those around him, what did life hold in store for the enslaved African? His life expectancy was at best nine years of unremitting toil. Stripped of his identity and in a process designed to make him subservient, he would be put through a process of ‘seasoning’ which might last for two or three years. During this period he would get accustomed to the mental and physical torture that were part and parcel of daily life on a plantation. He would work for up to eighteen hours a day and sometimes longer at harvest time. There were no free weekends or rest days. The only people exempt from working were children under the age of six, some elderly people and those with serious physical disabilities.Beatings and whippings were common as was the use of implements like the neck collar and leg irons. Any serious offences would be punishable with the death penalty. Slaves were never more than chattels that could be traded at will by the people who owned them. 27 Monday, 4 November 2013
  28. 28. but the times they are a changing The slaves lived in encampments of simple huts and always at a respectable distance from the large and imposing houses occupied by the estate owners and their families. We know little about many aspects of the lives lived in these small settlements. Whilst looking through Eliza Scarlett’s archive in the Hull History Centre I came across a number of revealing entries in the estate accounts for the shipment from Glasgow of large quantities of salted herrings which I can only assume was perhaps the staple diet of the slaves. One such shipment, of which there were many, was for 100 barrels of herrings. During the time of Eliza Scarlett’s stewardship of the Jamaican estates, big changes were afoot for both the sugar trade and for the slave trade which underpinned it and the word on everyone’s lips was ABOLITION 28 Monday, 4 November 2013
  29. 29. a beginning and an ending The slave trade reached its zenith in the middle of the 18th century but within a few decades a movement for abolition began to gather momentum. The defeat of the British in the war with America led to many people returning to Britain sometimes bringing with them their former slaves who wasted no time in actively lobbying against slavery. In 1783 an incident involving the Liverpool registered slave ship Zong caused widespread outrage and raised public concern. The Zong lost her way on passage to the West Indies and as water grew short an epidemic started on board and crew and slaves began to die. At this point the Captain, Luke Colingwood, called the crew together and pointed out to them that if the slaves died naturally then the financial loss would be borne by the ship’s owners but if on some pretext of the safety of the crew they had to be thrown into the sea, then it would be the loss of the underwriters. Ever keen to satisfy the ships owners and despite the objections of his first mate Colingwood ordered that 133 slaves be thrown overboard. 29 Monday, 4 November 2013
  30. 30. The abolitionists Two of the most influential members of the abolition movement were William Wilberforce (left)the Member of Parliament for Hull and the potter and industrialist Josiah Wedgewood (below) together with many other Quakers. Wilberforce failed on eleven occasions to get an Abolition Bill through Parliament and had a model of the slave ship Brookes made showing the manner in which the slaves were packed like sardines in a can which he produced at length in a House of Commons debate to great effect. Wedgewood produced a cameo showing a kneeling, manacled slave asking ‘Am I not a man & a brother?’ These were probably two of the most effective political images ever used in a British political campaign. 30 Monday, 4 November 2013
  31. 31. the cartoonist joins the debate The leading caricaturist of the time Isaac Cruikshank reflected the mood of the period in this 1792 cartoon titled The leaving of sugar by degrees. The title is a play on the words ‘of’ and ‘off’. Seated round the breakfast table are George III, the Queen and two of their daughters. The Queen’s Keeper of the Robes’ Juliana Elizabeth Schwellenbergen holds a bottle of brandy and discusses with them the use of sugar in moderation. 31 Monday, 4 November 2013
  32. 32. The Abolition Bill is passed It was the testimony of men like former ships captains and surgeons who had served on slave ships that would prove to be the deciding factor in focussing public opinion in Britain firmly against the horrors of the Atlantic slave trade. That said, economic factors also played a part and women were at the forefront of the abolition campaign and set up the Anti-Saccarite Movement to promote the boycott of slave-grown sugar. Britain became involved in a costly war with France, one of the consequences of which was a halving of the value of English currency between 1790 and 1800. The Abolition of the Slave Trade bill was eventually carried in the House of Commons and became law on 25th March 1807. 32 Monday, 4 November 2013
  33. 33. see how the girls dance Isaac Cruikshank’s satirical view of the Abolition titled The Abolition of the Slave Trade published in 1792 depicts the notorious Captain Kimber whipping a teen-age African girl on board the slave ship Recovery which had sailed from Bristol en route for Grenada in 1791. "Dancing the slaves" was a regular part of the routine of a slave ship on the Middle Passage and aimed to ensure that slaves who were confined to the extremely cramped and unhygienic conditions below decks received at least a degree of regular exercise. Those who refused to take part were flogged and Kimber was subsequently charged with the murder of a slave girl who had refused to dance with him. Although he was acquitted at an Old Bailey trial in 1792 due to a lack of evidence, it established the principle that those who killed slaves could be tried for murder. When the slaves were thrown overboard from the Zong ten years earlier none of the crew was ever tried for murder, and the subsequent court cases established the legality of their act. 33 Monday, 4 November 2013
  34. 34. 1833 and the pay-off Although the 1807 Act had effectively put an end to the business of trading slaves, it would be another twenty-six years before slavery throughout the British Empire was ended with the passing of the Slavery Abolition Act in 1833. One of the provisions of the Act provided for the payment of compensation to slave owners for the loss of their slaves as business assets. In 1833 the British Government set aside 40% of its annual budget for such payments which is an indication of the huge sums of money involved in the trade over the preceding two centuries. Many of those who received payments were people of high social standing who it has to be said had risen from modest beginnings to establish family fortunes and trading dynasties by putting money into slave ships and plantations in the West Indies. The Lascelles family rose from modest Yorkshire farming stock and reached the top of the aristocratic slippery pole being ennobled as Earls of Harewood. When the compensation was paid out Henry Lascelles was in receipt of £26,309 for his 2,554 slaves in the West Indies. 34 Monday, 4 November 2013
  35. 35. Postscript To round off this presentation I want to return to Elizabeth Scarlett whose tomb in All Saints churchyard first set me off on this voyage of discovery into the unknown. Eliza was a young woman of just thirty years of age with two small children when her husband James died on their Jamaican plantation in 1798 leaving behind huge debts. It says much about the capable woman she was that for the next twenty-three years she successfully managed the estates in what were very difficult times for all those involved in producing sugar. What is even more remarkable is that for much of that time she ran the estates from here in England. We know that she came back to England with the children in the Spring of 1800 and from her letter book we also know that she was back on the family's Greenfield Estate in Jamaica by 1810 and again between 1815 and 1817. During the periods she spent in England, she occupied a number of addresses in the more desirable parts of London in Portland Place and Bedford Square. On returning to England she lived for a period in Cheltenham between 1817 and 1819 but there is no indication as to when she came to Leamington or where she was living at the time of her death. To the best of my knowledge no image of Eliza is known to exist. She would have had to address the problems associated with the Abolition Act in 1807 but had died by the time the compensation was paid in 1833. At the time of her death she held government stocks worth half-a-million pounds at today's values. She sat down at her desk in Leamington to write out her will on Boxing Day 1820 and had died before the week was out. It was a great privilege to see and to handle the letters and documents in the Hull Record Centre and in spite of much that I read and saw I developed a huge amount of empathy for Elizabeth Scarlett a truly remarkable Regency woman. 35 Monday, 4 November 2013
  36. 36. This slide show in the Leamington Discovered series was compiled by Alan Griffin for the Leamington History Group website Resources Hull History Centre, Worship Street, Hull houses the Scarlett archive for which the reference is UDDLA/41. This archive is of national importance for anyone researching early sugar production and the slave trade. I found the staff to be unfailingly helpful and good -humoured. Wilberforce House, 23 High Street, Hull is the birthplace of William Wilberforce the abolitionist campaigner.  The museum tells the story of the trans-Atlantic slave trade and its abolition, as well as dealing with contemporary slavery.  The permanent displays include journals and items that belonged to William Wilberforce, Admission is free Acknowledgements All contemporary photographs were taken by the compiler of this presentation and the majority of early engravings are also from his collection. He also acknowledges the following: National Maritime Museum National Archives John Trevelyan - Blake John Carter Brown Library Providence R I 36 Monday, 4 November 2013 Wilberforce Museum Aexpress
  37. 37. End of slide show 3 Please visit us again for new presentations on aspects of the history of Royal Leamington Spa 37 Monday, 4 November 2013

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